Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business
By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
So-so reality series tries to sell a souring family brand.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The central message is that Brandy and Ray J need to embrace responsibility and learn about the business so that they can look out for their own careers. In short, they've got to grow up. But the big question is: Why haven't they already?
Positive Role Models
While Brandy comes across as well-adjusted, professional, and mature, Ray J tends to act like an overgrown child. Sonja and Willie Sr. love their kids and value their careers, but they haven't been good about cracking down on Ray J's bad behavior.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ray J first found fame when he appeared in a sex tape and has since recorded songs with suggestive titles (including "Sex Can I," "Sex in the Rain," and "Dirty Samantha") and starred in his own reality dating show. When Ray J is out partying "for work," he might grab a girl's buttocks or dance suggestively with her.
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Some bleeped swearing (mostly "f--k" and "s--t") plus audibles like "piss," "ass," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Both Brandy and Ray J are marketable brands; the show is an obvious attempt to re-launch Brandy's recording career and help Ray J get away from his image as "a date show guy."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some social drinking (sipping champagne while shopping or drinking in clubs, etc.), but usually not to excess on camera. Lots of references to "partying."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show is pushing a product -- two products, actually: R&B singer/actress Brandy Norwood and her younger brother, Ray J, who's found fame of his own thanks to a sex tape, a recording career, and a successful reality series about his search for "love." Some scenes involving Ray J are sexually suggestive and inappropriate for kids (such as when Ray J tells his friends on their way to a club, "I need the fattest, bootiest broad out there. I'm looking for a Gigantasaurus booty.") You'll also hear some bleeped swearing (mainly "f--k" and "s--t") and hear audible language like "damn," "hell," and "piss," and see some social drinking.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In BRANDY AND RAY J: A FAMILY AFFAIR, R&B singer/actress Brandy Norwood and her kid brother, recording artist and reality star Ray J, get an unexpected order from their mother, Sonja, who's also their manager: It's time for them to take control of their own careers and learn the ins and outs of the family business. That means they each get their own offices, and Sonja gets to spend more time with her husband, Willie Sr. On television, Brandy is best known for her kid-friendly series Moesha, while Ray J starred in two seasons of his own reality dating show, For the Love of Ray J.
Is It Any Good?
This VH1 slice of "celebreality" sounds like a charming concept when it comes to family viewing until you consider that at 31 and 29 years old, respectively, Brandy and Ray J should have stepped up to the plate a long time ago. And at that point, the whole premise feels a bit like the Emperor's New Clothes. After all, is this really the first time they've tried to understand how the business works? If so, that's kind of sad.
Although there's some real potential here for family bonding and meaningful takeaways, the show really gets interesting when Ray J, who's particularly candid about how "the business" works for him, shares unexpected realities about his fame. Like the fact that people will pay him to show up at their parties, and that he can make up to $1 million a year doing that alone six nights a week. "It's a hustle," he admits, matter-of-factly. And when he says it, you realize he's right.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about consumerism and how this series could help Brandy and Ray J advance their careers. Whose idea do you think it was, VH1's or the Norwoods'? Is the consumerism subtle or overt?
How "real" are the things you're seeing? Does any part of this reality series seemed contrived? How can you tell?
How does the format of this show differ from Ray J's reality dating series? Does it show him in a different light?
- Premiere date: April 11, 2010
- Cast: Brandy Norwood, Ray J
- Network: VH1
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
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